Pan the Pundits

Another week, another Pan The Pundits and, for whatever reason, the scheduling gods hate me. Gary opened with a montage of midweek goals, a sign that this Match of the Day was going to be s**t. I could watch Match of the Day 2 and include that, but that’s like reviewing the Godfather and including your review for the Godfather 2 alongside it. Anyway, he’s joined this week by Alan Shearer and my favourite German Didi Hamann.

We began at St. Mary’s where a staunchly mid-table Southampton were hosting my second favourite team in the world Hull. Southampton are, at this point of the season, just there really, fulfilling all their fixtures before they go on holiday and come back to finish tenth next year. Meanwhile, the Foreign Guy was apparently celebrating the fact that Oumar Niasse got his red card for breathing on M’Baye Niang last week rescinded and, no, that isn’t a punchline Everton fans.

Well, that might have been the worst game to ever open a Match of the Day. Even St. Mary’s sounded bored throughout the highlights. Fraser Forster was playing like he was bored. Alfred N’Diaye decided to inject some life late on, going for a beautiful rugby tackle on Maya Yoshida. Jakupovic pulled out a brilliant stop from the penalty, celebrated by the Foreign Guy like Hull had won the league. Meanwhile, David Marshall faded further into obscurity. Goal counter for this week’s MOTD – zero.

We were treated to a Lineker special with the Foreign Guy too which was surprisingly not terrible. The explanation by Shearer of why he thought it wasn’t a penalty was terrible. I don’t know what footage he was watching but that was a decent Goldberg impression (sadly outlawed in football).

It meant that our next game was at Sunderland where Moyesey’s relegation party bus was about to drop off the edge of a cliff. Finally. They were hosting Bournemouth who can’t decide if they want to be safe or not. They were boosted by the absence of Jack Wilshere whose 537th injury has meant that they can now begin to play well again without carrying a human plaster cast through a game.

ONE DOWN! Bye Sunderland! You won’t be missed. They tried hard, bless them, but when your midfield consists of Ndong and Pienaar; your centre back is John O’Shea and you play human moon Victor Anichebe up front, you only have yourselves to blame. Even Jermain Defoe didn’t fancy it and probably missed those chances to get him out of that hell hole. Comedy moment of the game was the referee attempting to defuse a brawl by repeatedly blowing his whistle at them, like in wrestling where the best they can do is ring the bell and wave their arms. Goal counter for this week’s MOTD – one.

Hilariously, it was left to ex-Newcastle players Shearer and Hamann to dissect the relegation of Sunderland without laughing. They did it. Just about. I failed though. I’m laughing as I’m writing this.

It was Selhurst Park next where Big Sam’s perfect record of never getting relegated is nearly safe for another season. His pints of wine have got the Palace away from the brink, and they hosted Burnley who’ve had one of their players in the news this week. Odds on me making a joke about Joey Barton? 1000/1. Oh, I’ve won…

Ashley Barnes is the single scruffiest striker I’ve ever seen. He had the ball in the net twice and both times it involved some kind of miskick. Ade Akinbiyi is somewhere furiously shaking his fist at the heavens. Palace’s response to Barnes’ goal – throw a lighter at James Tarkowski. Yeah, that’ll show them. This game was ripe for laughing at though – Barnes’ celebration for his disallowed goal, George Boyd half committing to joining in like Bolo Zenden did at Stamford Bridge years ago, or (my personal favourite), Loic Remy missing the ball completely then falling over randomly as Zaha went down in the box. Goal counter for this week’s MOTD – 3.

Off the Wall next as Shakespeare’s Foxes visited Tactics Tony and the boys. Both sides are relatively comfortable in the middle of the table despite a couple of cracks appearing in the Wall. Shakespeare, meanwhile, has written a story of a heroic return to the prosperity of mid-table averageness for Leicester.

Have I not said that Salomon Rondon is an absolute donkey? His incredible pass set Leicester on their way to victory at the Hawthorns with Ibiza’s finest Jamie Vardy getting another one to add to his tally. The goal was fine. The prancing celebration? It was not. Goal counter for this week’s MOTD – 4.

Our final voyage was to the NotBritannia Stadium where Stoke and West Ham were mid-table and playing terribly. West Ham had bored me so much that I refused to even analyse their game and I can’t remember Stoke’s either.

I can’t even be bothered. They got ten minutes out of this crap and I don’t know how. I’ll just go over the key stats here. Saido Berahino’s goal drought has ticked over into three centuries and we finish this edition of Match of the Day with four bloody goals. FOUR! I watched an hour of Alan Shearer analysis for FOUR goals?!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go serve an eighteen-month ban for betting on my own column.